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Lab Safety Evaluations

What is a Laboratory Safety Evaluation?

In order to support compliance with federal, state, and local regulations and guidelines in Duke University’s research laboratories, the Occupational and Environmental Safety Office’s (OESO’s) Laboratory Safety Division requires routine safety evaluations of each Principal Investigator’s (P.I.’s) laboratory(ies). The laboratory safety evaluation focuses on policies, procedures, work practices and training related to laboratory work, including the following areas:

  • Biological Safety & Waste Management
  • Chemical Safety & Waste Management
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Fire Safety
  • References and Information Resources

Before the lab safety evaluation - Required Actions and Documentation

Please complete the steps found on the first page of the Lab Evaluation Preparation Instructions. Detailed instructions for each step are included on pages 2 - 7. These instructions are also sent out with your lab evaluation invitation.

During the lab safety evaluation

  1. The lab safety representative will meet you in the pre-determined space and address any issues regarding training or safety documentation.
  2. If not completed in advance, the lab will be shown how to submit their Biological Materials Report and Targeted Chemical Report in the Lab Safety and Waste Management System. 
  3. The lab safety representative will walk through all lab spaces (including shared space). The walkthrough will cover items included in the Research Laboratory Self-Audit Tool (file will download). (Note that this covers more topics than the Lab Safety Checklist that is filled out by the lab prior to the walkthrough.).
  4. The lab safety representative will address any lab safety issues that are found during the walkthrough.

After the lab safety evaluation

  1. The lab will receive a memorandum detailing any deficiencies and proposed solutions, as well as recommended improved safety practices.
  2. The lab will provide written follow up to the memo within two weeks.
    1. Some deficiencies may not be able to be completely resolved within two weeks. A timeline to address those deficiencies should be made clear.
  3. The Lab Safety Specialist will follow up on any deficiencies that are left outstanding or that need back and forth communication to resolve.

Below are some helpful links